Essays on Path-Goal Theory of Leadership Assignment

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The paper " Path-Goal Theory of Leadership" is a wonderful example of a Management Assignment. The leadership style of a company manager or leader can either positively or negatively affect the business (Geithner, 2007). Different company leaders have different leadership traits and viewpoints. This study focuses on two leaders with different leadership styles but is very successful. The first one is the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, and the other, Terry Gou founded Foxconn. Terry Gou is quite controversial with strict rules and regulations while Richard Branson is positive and democratic in his leadership.

This paper will look at how these leadership styles affect employee performance, motivation, and the creation of a better workplace with regard to the different theories and ideas of leadership behaviors and styles. Question 1. Richard Branson Richard Branson has a clearly defined leadership style that is full of vision, positivity, and trust. His leadership styles can be argued to be partly laissez-faire and partly democratic. Leaders using democratic leadership styles involve the employees in suggestions and ideas for improvement and to some extent in the decision-making process (Northouse, 2007).

They do away with hierarchies and employees are in control of what they do in the company. In the case study, Richard Branson believes that workers have to operate in an ever-changing environment, need to be empowered to act and need to make decisions. His leadership Approach also includes supporting his employees, treating them with respect, and delegating tasks. Laissez-faire leadership style is where the leaders give the employees total freedom to make their own decisions but provide the necessary answers and materials if needed (Goethals, et al. , 2004).

Richard Branson shows this leadership style where he sets a ‘ non-policy’ on holidays where the employees can take time off and go on holiday whenever they want, he also encourages and allows them to make their own decisions since he pays them to be their own leaders and not to follow. As much as some scholars concluded that the latter leadership style is ineffective compared to other styles (Lewin, 1939), it seems to work for him as he owns one of the most successful businesses in the world. Terry Gou This owner of Foxconn, on the other hand, has a very different and controversial leadership style.

He undoubtedly uses an autocratic leadership style where he dictates work methods, centralizes authority, limits employee participation, and makes unilateral decisions (Northouse, 2007). His factory staff are sometimes required to do full-day shifts (24 hours) or sometimes have to wake up as early as 4 am to meet urgent orders. The workers have some benefits but the pressure on them is constant. He dictates work methods where he pushes for more production and better performance but with low pay and long hours of work.

They have forced overtime and boring repetitive jobs, they are to some extent being treated like machines. His centralized authority and unilateral decision making come in where he does not share new product launches with the staff; he does not have clear consultations with the workers. The workers are controlled tightly and jobs are done with military-style strictness. As much as this style of leadership may be working for him since he is still successful, this work environment is not conducive for any employee as it can be compared to slavery.

The company has even had over ten counts of suicides with more workers threatening to do the same.



Geithner, C. A., 2007. Understanding leadership styles. (2nd Edn). Monterey: Healthy Learning.

Goethals, G. R., Sorenson, G. J., & Burns, J. M., 2004. Encyclopedia of leadership. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 02 May 2017].

House, R.J. & Mitchell, T.R., 1974. Path-goal theory of leadership. Journal of Contemporary Business. 3(1), pp l–97.

Lewin, K., LIippit, R. & White, R.K., 1939. Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10 (4), pp. 271-301.

Northouse, P. G., 2007. Leadership: theory and practice. (5th Edn). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Vroom, V.H., 1964. Work and motivation. (1st Edn). New York: Wiley.

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